We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Scholl and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Empowered employees are the secret to the success of any brand. I genuinely believe that a company is only as good as its’ people. It can be incredibly challenging building a team that truly embodies your company culture, but when you do…it’s magic. Offering a nurturing environment with a clear idea of our mission has been extremely important to the success of Parc Bistro-Brasserie. The genuine love for what we do, the true passion we have for hospitality reverberates through each one of our employees. It is this passion that is transferred to our guests. Happy guests are the best brand ambassadors! In the restaurant world, people may forgive a bad meal, they may forget a lackluster cocktail, but they will never forget how you made them feel when they are at your restaurant. We aim to make every guest feel special. Connecting with our guests has been what truly makes Parc Bistro successful and separates us from our competition. Our guests have become part of our family. The incredible bond that we have created with the community is due to the amazing staff we have at Parc Bistro-Brasserie. It is my team, that I owe our success to. They are what makes Parc Bistro so unique. Sure, we have awesome food, extraordinary cocktails, a charming dining room and a gorgeous patio…but it is the connections, the feeling of “coming home” that draws the guests back time and time again. The dedication of my staff to our mission to provide the highest level of hospitality in town, is the most important factor behind our success at Parc Bistro-Brasserie. I would like to end with a quote from Danny Meyer…whose book “Setting The Table” has been somewhat of a restaurant bible for me. “Hospitality is present when something happens for you. It is absent when something happens to you. Those two simple prepositions – for and to – express it all.” Danny Meyer
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Hospitality is in every fiber of my being. Throughout the past 25 years and I have been awarded the opportunity to work alongside incredible leaders in the hospitality industry and honored to coach a diverse group of individuals across the country; but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon Parc Bistro-Brasserie in Bankers Hill that I truly felt that I had found my home. We were searching for one another!
When I met the Owner Garo Minassian in 2016, -shortly after the restaurant opened- we realized the energy between us was special and an immediate partnership was formed. We shared the same vision: to create a restaurant where our community would feel at home. We wanted to offer a unique experience for our guests. We are both “old school” when it comes to restaurant values and agreed that there are so many places where you go out to dine and are treated like a number, not a person. We aim to be a place where every meal you get is exceptional, the service is always warm and kind, and when you leave you are already planning your next trip back. At any given time, we know at least 75% of the guests in our restaurant. They come for birthdays, first-dates, happy hours, retirement parties, holidays, lunches and for all other special occasions, or just simply for no occasion at all! Maybe just to sit and have a cocktail at the bar and chat with our super awesome team.
At first glance, Parc is a stunning restaurant with plenty of character, charm, warmth and elegance, all without pretention. The aromas of the fresh lavender and herbs growing in our organic herb garden subtly draw curious passers-by in for one of our Famous Lavender Martinis. Our flower bed vibrantly decorates our large and newly expanded patio. Once you step into our home you will realize we are not that small after all. Our gorgeous, reclaimed wood floors and our pendant lighting will guide you to the main dining room, clad with dazzling chandeliers and a wine wall that will bewitch even the most serious Oenophiles. We are great at throwing parties too! We can seat 10-150 for seated dinners, parties and more.
All are welcome all at Parc Bistro. Come as you are. At any given time, we may have folks in yoga pants, t-shirts and shorts, running gear, suits, ties and even evening gowns and tuxedos. We want Parc to be a place where people can feel comfortable as if they are at their own home. We have found the perfect mixture of fine dining in a casual, delightful, and inviting atmosphere. We are loveable, elegant, and serve award winning cuisine and cocktails. Our soul is French cuisine with influences from all over the globe with an emphasis on fresh seafood. We source local & sustainable whenever possible & offer tons of small plates for sharing as well as an extensive array of delicious entrees.
This year has thrown an entirely unique set of challenges into the mix, but we are determined to adapt and overcome. We are fierce, tenacious, and hopeful. Our executive Chef Benjamin Navarro holds the key to the heart of our “house”. His drive, creativity and dedication are an absolute inspiration. I am in awe of him every day. His food is truly unbelievable and his ability to adapt and pivot this last year is an amazing feat.
We have been working arduously at giving back to the community who has been so pivotal to our survival. We understand how grueling this year has been for so many in our community, so we have partnered with Sarah Hernholm, Founder/President of WIT-Whatever it Takes www.doingwit.org to help feed families in need for the holidays. It is through this partnership we have been able to feed many San Diego families and we are continuing to find ways to give back every day.
We have also partnered with Rainbow Railroad https://www.rainbowrailroad.org/. Their mission is to help LGBT people escape persecution and violence. We will be hosting a Charity Gala Event at Parc Bistro-Brasserie in October 2021 to raise funds to support their cause, which is near and dear to my heart and the heart of our community. Parc Bistro-Brasserie is not just a local French restaurant with exceptional food, awesome cocktails, superb service and a gorgeous patio and bar…It is family. It is home.
It only takes one visit, and you will become a regular too~
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, I’m from Chicago, so my friends are always wanting to come for a visit…especially in January and February when Chicago is in the middle of a Polar Vortex! I absolutely love playing tour guide to my friends and I LOVE San Diego. There is so much do, see and eat. I try to change up the itenieries to suit the personalities of my friends. I live in South Mission beach and have a few SUP’s, kayaks, and beach cruisers to play with when my friends visit, so a beach day is always a must, followed by a cruise around the bay and beach. Dinner at Enoteca Adriano in Pacific Beach and dessert at the amazing French Gourmet for mouthwatering baked goods. A must do is La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores. I have several sets of snorkel gear and I am quite convincing at getting even the most apprehensive guests in the ocean. A kayak trip through the caves is a spectacular way to start the morning, followed by a snorkel in the La Jolla Cove, a stroll to seal beach and stop for lunch at The Cheese Shop in La Jolla for amazing sandwiches. I love to bike through Balboa Park, the Rose Garden and the Spanish Landing, followed by an outstanding Sip & Create art class with Pilar Montaño in Bankers Hill. Sip on some vino and create a masterpiece as Pilar patiently teaches you techniques you will soon forget (the wine remember?) One of my absolute favorite places to eat is Encontro in North Park. The Chef/Owner Jason Hotchkiss is a food-genius and a good friend. Also, Encontro is one of the only places in San Diego that serves Cardiff Crack Tri-Tip. It’s so good it will make you cry. Upscale gastropub with awesome food, great atmosphere and excellent service. North Park is also a super fun place to checkout eclectic shops, breweries and eateries. I love to shop, and Stroll Boutique is a must with my Mom and sister when they are in town! The owner Katie McCarthy stocks unique, gorgeous, and affordable clothes. I spend way too much time in her store! Seaport village, a drive over to Coronado, dinner at the San Diego Fish Market (One of my favs! I worked there as a server for 5 years back in the day and I still love this place). For my more adventurous friends I take them on a hike at Volcan Trailhead and/or Torrey Pines Hike followed by a trip to Julian for some apple pie at Julian Pie Company, my absolute fav! Want the best brunch in San Diego? I hate to plug my restaurant, but a trip to visit me always finishes with brunch at Parc Bistro. It’s so good! I could go on and on. There is so much to see and do in this fantastic city!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Ahhhh! So many people have contributed to my personal and professional growth throughout the years, but it is ultimately my parents whom I owe the biggest shout out to. My mother worked as a server in an array of restaurants my entire childhood, thus I spent countless hours doing homework and watching her work her magic with the guests. She worked her butt off and landed a General Manager position by the time she was 35; gave me my first job as a bus person at age 14. Alas, my love (sometimes hate) affair with all things hospitality had begun. Raised in a blue-collar family in Chicago, both of my parents worked several jobs at a time to make ends meet. It was their intention to instill us an excellent work ethic, the value of the dollar and the utmost importance of integrity, honor, and diligence in every task we attempt in our lives. I inherited my adventurous spirit from my Grandma Ruth who was a trailblazer in her own right, and my passion and drive from my Mom. My Dad taught me never to give up on my dreams and has been my biggest fan, no matter what I do. Garo Minassian, the Owner of Parc Bistro-Brasserie deserves a huge shout out. By handing over the reins and supporting all of my ideas (even the epic fails…oh yes, there have been fails!), he put his trust and faith in me to build our company culture and brand at Parc Bistro-Brasserie. I am grateful for his support, patience, and mentorship. His famous words to me are “Breathe Sam, breathe”. I usually laugh it off, but I have learned to take a step back and see the bigger picture from him. Not to get so worked up in the moment, which can be easy to do in the fast-paced restaurant business. I owe an enormous Shout Out to my partner, Honey. She has been incredibly patient with me, always encouraging my ideas, and offering her love and support. Being the partner of someone who runs a restaurant can almost be as exhausting as running the restaurant itself. She was not sure what she signed up for, but she hasn’t run away screaming…yet. Danny Meyer’s book Setting the Table deserves a Shout Out as it has been pivotal in shaping the way I look at business in relation to hospitality. Everyone in the restaurant business should own this book!
Instagram: @parcbistrosd https://www.instagram.com/parcbistrosd/
Nelvin Cepeda, Cintia Soto, Nick Biliotti, Camila Margotta